Live above Reproach

In his letter to the Corinthian church, Paul told the mature believers (those who knew the Word), to not let their knowledge become a hazard or stumbling block to their brothers or sisters who were weaker in the faith.  In those times, it was customary for animals to be slaughtered by pagan priest while practicing their pagan rituals. Then, the meat would be placed upon the alters as though being offered to idols. After this, the meat would then be taken and resold in the city market place for consumption. Some of the mature believers, in clear conscience, purchased that meat for their own consumption. They knew that the idols were dead and powerless, and that no food in of itself is unclean. Because of their knowledge of the truth, they knew eating the meat, even though it had been used in pagan rituals, would have no evil effect on them. They saw themselves as sanctified, blood bought children of God – with hearts pure and clean. No meat prayed over in pagan worship had the power to tarnish their souls. However, not every believer shared that knowledge. Even though they weren’t sinning by eating the meat, they were in danger of causing their brothers and sisters in the faith (who didn’t have that knowledge) to stumble. Which is why Paul asked them to be careful since their actions could send the wrong message to those new believers who had just come out of paganism and were not yet strong enough in knowing their new identity in Christ. Partaking of food that was offered to idols would severely hurt their consciences since they had renounced anything to do with the pagan world they were so deeply entrapped in. Just the same, we must always be conscious of the example we are setting for others. Even though our faith and knowledge of the freedom we have in Christ is strong, there are believers who are still doing their best to grow in God and have not yet built a resilience to things that could easily hurt their consciences and pull them back into their sinful lifestyles. Whatever we do, let’s determine to live above reproach, never giving a reason for our brothers or sisters in Christ to stumble.